“Jasper” is a dachshund who hind legs were paralysed but now according to his owner is “whizzing around the house” following a new procedure.
The use of the dog’s hind legs was restored by bridging breaks in the spinal cord using cells taken from the nose.
This presents new hope for patients with severe spinal injuries.
Cambridge University’s Professor Robin Franklin is a study leader and said, “Our findings are extremely exciting because they show for the first time that transplanting these types of cell into a severely damaged spinal cord can bring about significant improvement.”
Experts have recognised for some time that olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) could be valuable in treating damaged spinal cords. The cells support nerve growth and this keeps a communication pathway between the brain and nose.
Former research has shown that OECs might aid the formation of a bridge between damaged and undamaged spinal cord tissue by regenerating nerve fibres.
A study was done on 34 pet dogs, all of which had experienced spinal cord injuries from accidents and back problems.
A considerable improvement was noted in the dogs injected with OECs, which were shown to move previously paralysed hind legs.
This new medical procedure on dogs offers hope to paralysed humans for the future.